Rail upgrade work hits halfway mark

Ben Wallace
Ben Wallace
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Rail bosses have said they are on track to finish work at Poulton by April.

The project, part of a major upgrade that will see the line between Blackpool and Preston electrified, has hit the halfway stage, Network Rail said.

We are halfway through the first phase of work in Poulton, which is on target to finish in April

It follows a visit from Ben Wallace, MP for Wyre and Preston North, who went to see the progress made so far.

Work started in January to prepare the tracks through and near Poulton station for electric train services to run from May 2018.

Network Rail’s work to upgrade the line includes simplifying the track layout at Poulton and Salwick as well improvements to the drainage in the area.

Work is also underway to lower the railway beneath two road bridges in Poulton, which will make space for new overhead line equipment that will power electric trains through the area.

Mr Wallace said: “I was delighted to meet Network Rail to talk about how great the progress is to make sure that by 2018 we’re going to have electrification all the way from Blackpool into Preston, making more services possible.

“I think it’s a great investment into the area and a great opportunity for my constituents to be able to travel all over the North West and further afield.”

Michael Butler, commercial scheme sponsor at Network Rail said: “We are halfway through the first phase of work in Poulton, which is on target to finish in April.

“The track and drainage work forms an important part of our Railway Upgrade Plan and will help to pave the way for new electric trains between Preston and Blackpool North from May 2018.

“Ultimately, it will benefit the local economy by helping more passengers get to work and school, see their friends and family, as well as travel to major tourist attractions in the area.”

While work continues, there will be alterations to weekend services between Blackpool and Preston until April 2 and passengers are advised to plan ahead.

It means rail replacement buses will run between Preston and both Blackpool North and Blackpool South stations.